@Xavier_WBB Heads North To Face Big Ten Foe Michigan

Head Coach Brian Neal is looking for his first win as XU head coach.

Head Coach Brian Neal is looking for his first win as XU head coach.

Nov. 12, 2013

The Last Meeting
November 12, 2012
Cintas Center
Michigan Holds Off Women's Hoops 62-53
The Xavier Musketeers women's basketball team suffer its first loss of the season, losing 62-53 to the Michigan Wolverines at Cintas Center Monday night. Freshman Jenna Crittendon had a career-high 13 points and two assists in the defeat.


Game #2 - Xavier (0-1) at Michigan (1-1)

Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
City: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Site: Crisler Center (12,707)
Live Stats: MGoBlue.com
Live Video: MGoBlue.com
Live Audio: GoXavier.com
Talent: Mike Schmaltz
Twitter: @Xavier_WBB | @XavierGameDay
Twitter Hashtags: #LetsGoX
Last 5 in 2012-13: 4-1
Last 10 in 2012-13: 7-3
vs. the Big Ten: 6-13
vs. Michigan: 7th Meeting | U-M leads 4-2
Last Meeting: Nov. 12, 2012 | U-M 62, XU 53
Up Next: Home Opener vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff - Nov. 17

Xavier, fresh off a 94-88 loss at Ohio on Sunday, Nov. 10, will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to battle the Wolverines of Michigan on Wednesday night at Crisler Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m., as the Musketeers look for their first win of the season and will look to avoid starting the season 0-2 for the fifth time in program history (last time: 1988-89).

Head Coach:
Brian Neal (Northern Kentucky ‘91)
Career Record:
171-32 (8th Season)
Record at Xavier:
0-1 (1st Season)

Head Coach: Kim Barnes Arico (Montclair State ‘93)
Career Record:
293-217 (18th Season)
Record at Michigan:
23-12 (2nd Season)

Following the Michigan game, the Blue and White return home to Cintas Center to host Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov.17) and Longwood (Nov. 20). XU will face both opponents for the first time in program history. The Lady Lions, led by 2013 SWAC Coach of the Year Nate Kilbert, finished last season with a 13-18 overall record (7-11 SWAC). Kilbert, entering his second year at the helm, led UAPB to 13 wins in 2012-13, completely turning around a women's basketball program around that had won just two games total (2-58 overall) in the previous two seasons. The Lancers return eight letterwinners from a squad that went 14-19 overall (8-10 Big South) and secured an appearance in the 2013 Big South Conference Championship finals. The team's 14 victories marked the most wins in a season for the program since moving to Division I in 2007-08 (16).

- U-M is coming off a 1-1 weekend (Nov. 8-9), falling to Bowling Green before rebounding for an overtime win over Arizona.

- Michigan, one of the youngest teams in the country, has already had five players earn their first career starts through two games. U-M returned just 11 percent of its scoring from a year ago.

- U-M has two players averaging at least 40 minutes per game in Shannon Smith (42.5) and Nicole Elmblad (40.0), with Siera Thompson averaging 39.5 minutes per game. Smith has yet to leave a game this season.

- Michigan went 1-1 at the Iona Tournament, falling to Bowling Green on Friday (Nov. 8), 63-52, before bouncing back for a 73-71 overtime win against Arizona on Saturday (Nov. 9).

Against Bowling Green, Michigan fell behind in the early going and could never catch up in the loss. Shannon Smith led a trio in double figures with 17 points, but Michigan shot just 32.7 percent (18-for-55) from the floor in the loss.

U-M bounced back the next day, winning its first overtime contest since 2008 in a two-point win over Arizona. Michigan, trailing by two, forced an Arizona turnover with just two seconds remaining for one final chance. Smith found Cyesha Goree on the block, who took one dribble and launched a hook shot that found the bottom of the net to send the game to overtime. Michigan was trailing in extra time until Paige Rakers and Smith hit back-to-back three-pointers for a four-point lead with just over a minute remaining. Arizona scored once more, but that was it, as Michigan picked up the two-point win.

70’s the Magic Number
Xavier has gone 131-9 over the last 12 seasons when scoring at least 70 points, including 3-1 in 2012-13. XU’s losses when scoring 70+ points during that span:

- 82-79: overtime loss at Richmond on Jan. 5, 2004
- 74-72: loss to No. 22 Maryland on Dec. 4, 2004
- 76-72: loss at Charlotte on Jan. 3, 2006
- 82-71: loss at Florida to open Nov. 9, 2007
- 72-71: loss to Michigan on Dec. 14, 2009
- 85-75: loss to Louisville on Mar. 22, 2011
- 80-75: double overtime loss to Ohio on Dec. 19, 2011
- 77-73: overtime loss to Appalachian State on Nov. 30, 2012
- 94-88: loss to Ohio on Nov. 10, 2013

Since the 2004-05 season, XU is 48-30 (.615) following a loss, including a 7-9 mark following a loss during the 2012-13 season.

Xavier scored 88 points on 28-of-61 (45.9 percent) shooting from the floor at Ohio (Nov. 10). The trio of Shatyra Hawkes, Jenna Crittendon and Ashley Wanninger combined for 64 points (20-of-36).

The 88 points is the highest XU total in a game since scoring 92 points at Saint Louis on Feb. 16, 2011.

Xavier’s past six first-year head coaches are 3-3 in their first game, with Amy Waugh, Kevin McGuff and Melanie Balcomb combining to go 3-0 in their respective openers.

XU is 26-15 all-time in regular season openers, including 12-10 in season openers on the road. Over the last 23 seasons, Xavier is 18-5 in its first game of the season.

The Musketeers are 59-37 all-time during the month of November. XU posted an unblemished 6-0 record in November during the 2010-11 season. Xavier went on to win 29 games that year after starting the season with a 10-game winning streak.

On Nov. 7, Xavier Director of Athletics Greg Christopher named Brian Neal head coach of Xavier University's women's basketball team, making him the seventh head coach in program history. Neal had been operating as the interim head coach since Oct. 9, when former head coach Amy Waugh stepped down after a two-year tenure with the Musketeers.

Neal, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant with Xavier (2011-13), will be in his first season as a Division I head coach. Prior to joining Xavier, Neal was head coach of Thomas More's women's program (Division III) for seven years. A graduate of Northern Kentucky University, Neal has also served as an assistant coach at NKU and Wilmington.

Coach Neal and his staff -- assistants Carla Morrow, Bryce McKey and Mark Ehlen, director of operations Garry Horton and video coordinator Brenden Stowers -- have a young team, with eight freshmen and a trio of sophomores on the 13-player roster.

The Blue and White graduated the team’s top two scorers from last year's squad. That duo – Amber Gray and Jessica Pachko – accounted for 35 percent (21.1) of the team’s scoring and 33.6 percent of the team’s rebounding last year. Gray and Pachko, scored more than 1,000 points combined over the previous two seasons. The Musketeers are coming off a season where they advanced to the 2013 Buick Atlantic 10 Championship and earned a No. 7 seed. XU finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 13-16 overall record that included a 7-7 mark in league play.

The Musketeers return five players, including a trio of starters from last year’s squad that went 8-8 at Cintas Center. Senior Ashley Wanninger is XU’s top returning scorer (9.3 ppg) and three-point threat (53 made triples; .349). Xavier’s leader in assists (3.7 apg) and free-throw percentage (.810) last season, senior Shatyra Hawkes, is the other returning starter. Sophomore Jenna Crittendon is coming off a solid rookie campaign where she averaged 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds and started in 15 of the 26 contests she played in.

XU’s other returning letterwinners include sophomores Briana Glover and Aliyah Zantt.

Neal and Company welcome in a huge freshman class (8), which includes Brianna Gladney, Kayla Davis, Maddison Blackwell, Erica Dawson, Leah Schaefer, Martha Thompson, Sydney Neal and Christina Ohlinger.

The Xavier women’s basketball program, led by seniors Shatyra Hawkes and Ashley Wanninger, were predicted to finish ninth (20 points) in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Hawkes was named to the CSM BIG EAST All-Conference fourth team and Wanninger earned All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention honors.

The BIG EAST Conference announced the Preseason Poll and Preseason All-Conference honors on Oct. 16, 2013 at BIG EAST Basketball Media Day at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

2013-14 SCHEDULE
The Blue and White’s 2013-14 non-conference slate includes four contests against teams that qualified for postseason play, each of which finished the 2012-13 season with a top-55 RPI.

In BIG EAST play, the Musketeers will face each of its nine new league foes twice each as part of the conference’s double round-robin format. Four BIG EAST teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season (DePaul, St. John's, Creighton and Villanova).

Musketeer fans can follow Xavier women’s basketball on the program’s Twitter (@Xavier_WBB) and Instagram (@Xavier_WBB) accounts and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Xavierwbb.